Skype for iPad was finally released today. It’s been a long time coming. iPad owners no doubt remember having to make use of the iPhone app and the terrible upscaling. It wasn’t a good experience. Most puzzling, was the fact that the iPad has been around for well over a year. Many wondered what the holdup was.
Now that it’s available for download, what can se say? It’s not bad. They actually put some thought into it and it’s not just an enlarged version of Skype for iPhone. That’s already more than we expected given their slowness to update the app.
When you log in, your Skype contacts are in a column on the left. The column on the right also holds contacts, but these aren’t limited to just Skype. All of your iPad contacts show up in the app as well. This, as you know, is from your address book, which in turn is your iPhone contact list, meaning you can call or SMS friends directly through the Skype app for iPad. Keep in mind you must purchase credit in order to do that, so it’s not a feature we use.
Everything is very straight-forward. When making a call, you can chat by hitting the small word bubble icon at the bottom of the screen. Not sure if that’s totally useful since you’re already talking. On the other hand, what is useful is that you can be on a call while chatting with another contact. Keep in mind though that you are chatting on a device with a built-in microphone, as you type along, the person in voice with you is going to hear your fingers tapping on the iPad, and it may be loud for them.
We used the Skype test call and while “talking” to it, we tried browsing around on Mobile Safari. Things seemed to work well enough, but we could swear that it was slower to load (testing was done over wifi). Still, it seems that users can easily chat while carrying out other iPad functions, which is also a good thing. Just don’t expect it to be very fast.
Something you will also have to keep in mind is that it’s not a universal app. It’s two separate applications. One is for iPad the other is for iPhone. If you download Skype for iPad and you happen to have the older version on your tablet already, you will have to delete the old one, or it will keep both versions.
We don’t tend to use Skype for iPad much–we usually have our iPhone. However, it’s a little cooler if you have an iPad 2, thanks to the camera. Still, we typically use Skype on our computer. On top of that, we usually use Skype for work, lets editors and writers keep in constant touch. We rarely need to use it otherwise. Still, it’s not made for me, it’s made for the millions of iPad users out there who may not want to deal with the hassles of a full-on computer. If that’s the case, it’s great for keeping in touch with Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa. Then, there is also FaceTime, both do their job and both do it well.